Phase 2 of the TE-1 electric motorcycle prototype project has reached a successful conclusion.
Delivering on the objectives announced at the start of the TE-1 project in May 2019, focused on developing specialist electric motorcycle technology and innovative integrated solutions, the collaboration between Triumph Motorcycles, Williams Advanced Engineering (WAE), Integral Powertrain Ltd, and WMG at the University of Warwick (WMG) and funded by the Office for Zero Emission Vehicles, has achieved significant results.
The completion of Phase 2 revealed the battery and powertrain prototype, initial high level performance results, and the first design concept drawings for the Project TE-1 Prototype motorcycle that will be created at the end of the next phase.
Key project achievements to date include test results showing significant innovation in mass, battery technology, and powertrain performance that exceeds the target set by the UK Automotive Council for 2025, meeting the project’s objectives to deliver genuine innovation for a new standard in fully usable electric motorcycle performance.
Nick Bloor, Triumph CEO said the promising results achieved to date provide a glimpse of the potential electric future and showcase the talent and innovation of this unique British collaboration.
“Without doubt the outcome of this project will play a significant part in our future efforts to meet our customer’s ambition and desire to reduce their environmental impact and for more sustainable transportation. This important project will provide one of the foundations for our future electric motorcycle strategy, which is ultimately focussed on delivering what riders want from their Triumph; the perfect balance of performance, handling and real-world usability, with genuine Triumph character.”
PHASE 2 OUTCOMES
Based on the agreed specification, WAE identified cell technology and battery architecture to deliver the performance objectives. Using this as a framework, the company optimised the battery module layout to balance mass and positioning within the prototype chassis, taking into consideration centre of gravity, space and relationship with the powertrain and charging approach.
In addition to the module layout, WAE developed a new and unique vehicle control unit which is integrated into the battery pack to minimise weight and packaging. In parallel, the company also created innovative battery management software to ensure power is delivered in relationship to battery performance.
The outcome of Phase 2 for WAE includes a fully bench-tested battery with performance results it said exceeds anything else on the market in power and energy density.
Dyrr Ardash, Senior Commercial Manager, WAE said that unlike most electric motorcycle technology that arguably delivers compromised performance at low levels of battery charge, TE-1 uses a lightweight, compact solution that provides all of the performance all of the time (regardless of battery charge), and a class leading range.
“We have focussed on pushing the boundaries to reduce mass and optimise frame position to benefit handling. We have also pushed the limits of battery performance, balancing the design for acceleration and range, with simulations modelled on track-based riding. In other words, as aggressive as possible, The energy density of this new battery will be a significant step forward from existing technology giving the rider more power, for longer. WAE has also designed and developed an electronic control unit from the ground-up, combining the battery management system with the bike control functions in one package. This is a first for this market, benefiting packaging and integration whilst optimising performance and range,” said Ardash
Internal Powertrain said its experience in cutting edge motor and inverter design and manufacture has helped the company push this technology to the next level for the TE-1 project. In Phase 1 Integral Powertrain worked to integrate the normally separate motor and inverter into one single, compact, package. Integration lowers the mass and volume of the drivetrain by reducing additional boxes on the vehicle, mounting features, coolant pipework and heavy high voltage connections.
The innovative integration concept is also fully scalable; for example, the number of power stages can increase for larger diameter, higher torque motors. Combined with its state-of-the-art motor technology, Integral Powertrain has seen exciting results, with the motor achieving a power density twice the target set by the UK Automotive Council for 2025.
The company has also implemented advanced silicon carbide switch technology in the inverter, which reduces losses in the inverter and results in greater drivetrain efficiency, power delivery and range.
Andrew Cross, Chief Technical Officer at Integral Powertrain, said one of the most influential factors in how well a motorcycle handles and performs is mass, so the company focused heavily on making a step change in motor and inverter design, such as removing heavy high voltage cables.
“This delivers a product that is significantly more compact and lighter than anything currently available on the market. The motor produces 130kW or almost 180hp, but weighs only 10kg, much lighter than existing technology and clearly a small fraction of the mass of traditional internal combustion engines. The silicon carbide switch technology in our new scalable integrated inverter will help set new standards in terms of electric motorcycle efficiency; application of this technology means a lighter weight overall with significantly more performance and range. In parallel, we have a very strong focus on design for manufacture and assembly activity, so that all this high motor and inverter performance can be offered cost-effectively. Ultimately, this is really going to be an industry-leading powertrain that will help define the future of electric mobility,” said Cross.
WMG has worked closely with TE-1 partners during Phase 1 and 2 to develop representative models to simulate the systems of the bike, including battery, motor, and vehicle control.
Initially this allowed WMG to validate the specification against the intended component selection by assessing performance criteria such as range and top speed with initial models. This enabled Triumph to carry out software development at an early stage prior to hardware being built, with thorough testing programs to ensure real-life testing can deliver on refinement. Most recently, WMG conducted powertrain rig testing using the prototype IPT powertrain to ensure its simulations are accurate and to confirm the motor functions within the system as intended. WMG has also been providing guidance to Triumph relating to future legislation, charging infrastructure and recycling strategies that will need to be implemented across future electric motorcycle platforms.
Truong Quang Dinh, Assistant Professor of Energy Management and Control Systems at WMG, said the creation of computer-based simulation models at the start of Phase 1 was ensured the component selection achieved the performance targets defined by the partners for the TE-1 Prototype.
“We have continued with this work across Phase 2 of the project, refining the models to a much more complex level to allow us and the partners to imitate further components on the bike such as braking, throttle, lighting and other systems and mimic real-world riding to provide development opportunities before components were fully designed. Additionally, we have created a physical rig wired with all of the control units, in order to implement a design validation test programme to ensure the function of each section was within the allowable range.”